NAVAL AIR STATION PATUXENT RIVER, Md. – NAS Patuxent River transitioned from Health Protection Condition (HPCON) Alpha to HPCON Bravo Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023. NAS Patuxent River makes the move as a result of rising COVID cases throughout St. Mary’s County.
HPCONs are protocols for public health emergencies, such as a pandemic. Commanders review and update these HPCONs based on risk levels within a local community and in cooperation with local, state or host nation guidance. Military leaders and public health personnel use them to guide actions taken in response to a health threat.
At NAS Patuxent River, reports of COVID positive cases among personnel working aboard the installation have remained relatively low. But rising community COVID transmission numbers, particularly among unvaccinated personnel, has driven the need for greater protections against the virus.
“This move to HPCON Bravo is in direct response to rising COVID numbers in the community,” said Capt. Derrick Kingsley, NAS Patuxent River commanding officer. “After conferring with our health protection officers it was determined this was the appropriate action to protect our personnel from the continued presence of COVID and its variants.”
If the community level should reach high per CDC guidelines, stricter HPCON levels may have to be enacted on base. The shift to HPCON Bravo is intended to mitigate the rise in COVID cases and prevent that if possible.
“I want to encourage everyone to be safe, exercise good judgment and stay home from work if they are ill,” added Kingsley. “We all have to do our part to stop the spread.”
HPCON Bravo implementation directs that personnel should continue to avoid unnecessary contact and stay home when sick. Workforces are directed to limit workspaces to 80 percent of normal occupancy, and permit liberal telework where possible, especially for individuals who self-identify as immunocompromised or being at high risk for severe disease. Wearing of masks is advised when in group settings, and still required in medical spaces such as the Naval Health Clinic Patuxent River.
Many programs at NAS Patuxent River that had reopened or expanded service under HPCON Alpha will only be minimally impacted and remain open with minor changes to service, and the Trusted Traveler Program remains in effect at NAS Patuxent River.
Some MWR programs are not impacted in the shift back to HPCON Bravo; the Center Stage Theater remains open with limited capacity, and outdoor activities, such as the golf course and pavilions, remain open.